Over 7 years in the making, the team of video game industry historians Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel are in the final leg of producing the much awaited definitive book on the history of Atari Inc. - but they need your help to finish!
Thousands of original documents and internal resources have already been procured, and hundreds of interviews with former Atari employees have conducted as well. But with a targeted release date in time for Atari's 40th anniversary on June 27th of 2012, there's still more to do! Travel and research expenses need to be covered for this final round of interviews and documentation inquiry.
The book, tentatively titled Silicon Hot Tub: Atari Inc. How innovative leisure created the video game industry, and how excess almost destroyed it is about a subject matter that both authors feel passionate about. Atari Inc., originally started as an engineering partnership between Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in 1969 called Syzygy Co., became the foundation of the early video game industry.
The company and the brand were synonymous with "video games" in the 1970's and 80's, dominating both the arcade and consumer industries during those periods while making inroads in to computing and other little publicly known advanced research, even bringing legendary Xerox/Parc researcher Alan Kay on board to lead an advanced research division.
However due to corporate mismanagement and driven to extraordinary growth by it's parent company Warner Communications, in 1984 it imploded spectacularly taking most of the US video game industry with it.
In an age where Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft now dominate the consumer industry and the video arcade industry has all but disappeared, Gen-Xers and those old enough to have grown up during the "Age of Atari" still cling fondly to the memories of this period. The passion and loyalty for the brand still sounds loudly in the hearts of fans as evidenced by the large collectors market for Atari arcade games, hardware, and paraphernalia. Goldberg and Vendel began the book as a testament to the unsung heroes who created the legacy of Atari, and had just as much fun creating it as the people who played it.
"With this book, we really wanted to make it more about the stories and people that worked there" said Goldberg, former site director of IGN/Gamespy's ClassicGaming.Com and a current freelancer for Retro Gamer magazine. "More then just the usual facts, figures, and oft repeated personalities, really give fans an unparalleled look in towhat it was like to work at a place that created fun for a living."
Vendel, founder of the Atari History Museum - the only organization dedicated to the preservation and archiving of Atari's history, said "To most people, Atari was the logo, the hardware and a culmination of myths and lore almost as treasured as the products themselves. What most people never knew were the hearts and souls that created the company, the real lives that unfolded within its hallways. So many triumphs and defeats, arguments and inspirations, that all germinated in to incredible products, games...as well as spectacular blunders. This is about the people of Atari, and the story of going from a risky idea in an industry that didn't exist to smiles, laughs, arguments and defeats while holding onto the wildest ride in high-tech history."
Atari luminaries have been very supportive in the research and writing of the book, to date providing great access to insight and resources not otherwise available.
They're also looking forward to the release of the book, when the public can finally enjoy the stories and happenings behind the legendary fun they created.
"There have been several books written about Atari that have been less than accurate. Finally there seems to be a book that promises to be about what really happened. Marty and Curt have put in a lot of time to be sure that what they have to say is based on fact and not a lot of the fiction that has been floated about for many years." - Atari co-founder Ted Dabney
"Finally, a book about the people who made Atari real, who made the games, built the devices, and made sure people had fun. Not about the business of video games, but a book through the eyes of the people who WERE Atari. See it from our perspective for a change." - Owen Rubin, creator of such arcade classics as Space Duel and Major Havoc, Coin-op Division ('76-'84)
"Preserving the history of the company that invented video games, pioneered home video games, and shook up the pinball machine industry is a worthwhile goal. People with the actual knowledge of events will not be around forever and capturing this history is important" - Stephen Bristow, creator of Tank and head of engineering ('73-'84).
"I've yet to read a book about what really went on inside of Atari, by the actual people who worked there. Finally, a book that will capture the real facts that made this game company so compelling to work for." Steve Woita, creator of TAZ, QuadRun and Asterix, Atari 2600 Game Engineer / Designer ('82-'84).
"For decades we've seen books published claiming to tell the inside story of Atari...but never by Atari insiders. As an Atari insider who tells this story in video it's a great relief to know the book is finally on the way!" - Howard Scott Warshaw, creator of Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T., Atari Game Engineer ('81-'84) and Producer/Director of the "Once Upon Atari" documentary series
Now is your chance to become part of the Atari legend. Pledge now and become part of the effort to make this all happen!
- (30 days)